THE SPEAKING CROSSES OF CHAN

Intellectual men do not make myths,
They destroy them. Myths are made by faith
And faith alone. Such was it with the Mayas,
Who materialized their faith into their temples,
Lapidary, ciphers and their speech.
To them, faith mastered barbaric intellect.

Today there is little left of intellect
In Yucatán or Quintana Roo. The myths
Of ancient Mayas are heard in the learnèd speech
Of academicians lacking any faith.
They catalogue the lives and deaths of temples.
Should we listen to what they say about the Mayas?

I can tell you something about the Mayas
You’ll find in no footnote, for intellect
Does not presume to this. A palm-thatched temple
Enclosed three wooden crosses, symbolized a myth
Renascent. The guards and priests had faith
In this mahogany. You see, these crosses spoke.

This happened a hundred years ago. The speaker
Was Manuel Nahuat, ventriloquist, a Maya.
But was there any difference between the faith
Of those Chan Indians of little intellect
And of the ancient Mayas’ in their myths
That civilized the jungle from its temples?

Of course, nothing became of Manuel’s temple.
Today’s Mayas have almost lost their speech,
To say nothing of their calendar or myth.
Such decline is not unique unto the Mayas,
But represents victorious intellect.
Today we say that intellect rules faith.

Moderns have trouble understanding faith,
Thinking it something you find in Christian temples.
It is not, nor is it intellect,
But something like the soul revealed in speech,
The hallucination that one might be a Maya.
“Wiser and weaker,” today we have no myths.

Faith is strong. But as blood ran in the temples
Of the Mayas, surely the intellect prevails.
A poet speaks: “The wheel survives the myths.”

Copyright 2012 Ronald W. Kenyon. All rights reserved.